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Hegel's doctrines of absolute negativity and 'the Concept' are among his most original contributions to philosophy and they constitute the systematic core of dialectical thought. Brady Bowman explores the interrelations between these doctrines, their implications for Hegel's critical understanding of classical logic and ontology, natural science and mathematics as forms of 'finite cognition', and their role in developing a positive, 'speculative' account of consciousness and its place in nature. As a means to this end, Bowman also re-examines Hegel's relations to Kant and pre-Kantian rationalism, and to key post-Kantian figures such as Jacobi, Fichte and Schelling. His book draws from the breadth of Hegel's writings to affirm a robustly metaphysical reading of the Hegelian project, and will be of great interest to students of Hegel and of German Idealism more generally.
GOETHE'S CONCEPTION OF MORPHOLOGY had a major impact on Hegel's philosophical methodology at a point in time when Hegel was beginning to distance himself from Schelling and to confront dead-ends in his own previous conception. In 1803, Schelling left Jena to accept a chair in Würzburg, thus effectively ending the symphilosophical partnership that formed the element of Hegel's first years at the university. At about this time, Hegel must have begun to question the viability of Schellingian “intellectual intuition” as a mode of philosophical cognition, and to have doubts whether his own conception of a “skeptical” logic was sufficient to justify it via negationis. Up to this point, Hegel had proposed that a methodical construction of selfcontradictions (antinomies) in the concepts of the finite understanding was enough to demonstrate that the absolute standpoint of intellectual intuition was the only positive alternative; but now he presumably recognized the inherent limitations of the skeptical method as originally conceived. At what therefore appears to have been a moment of incipient reorientation, Hegel was introduced to Goethe's methods of botanical and optical inquiry, both through Goethe himself and through Franz Joseph Schelver, newly arrived in Jena to fill the vacated chair of botany and to manage the botanical garden under Goethe's direct supervision. The channels through which Hegel gained familiarity with Goethean science and the extent of his knowledge have been reconstructed by Eckart Förster from the historical evidence.